The perfect time to start planning for a pool is now. Real estate reports estimate that a pool is the second largest investment a homeowner will make after their initial home purchase. Whether you are building your dream home from the ground up, nesting into a new suburban neighborhood, or infusing your personality into a previously owned home, your outdoor space is equally important to establishing  a comfortable base as the interior walls. Backyard escapes have the potential of yielding a return on investment and even increasing the value of your home if well-planned and well-maintained. After years of consultation, design, build, and remodel the most important stages of planning outdoor living retreats, from patios to pools, can be summed up into these phases: 1. Survey Plat; 2. Design; 3. Permits; 4. Product/Material Availability and Delivery; 5. Rock; 6. Inspector Schedules; 7. Weather; and 8. Landscaping. Let’s break them down!

Survey Plat. Your survey plat is going to be key in both the design of your outdoor living space and obtaining permits. It is a property map that accurately defines the boundary lines, zoning jurisdiction and classifications, easements, and rights of way between properties. It may also depict a lot of detail including elevation and topography. Most homeowners are able to obtain a copy of their boundary survey from the building inspector or land records office. A boundary survey is often kept on file with the title company that oversaw the title transfer during the closing of the sale. Another option is to inquire with your mortgage lender if they still hold the title to the house. If you are in need of a surveyor, reach out to us on our Schedule a Design Consultation page. Nashville is thriving so be aware that it may take up to four weeks for a surveyor to make a site visit. If you are ready to get started on your outdoor living project start looking for the survey plat now!

Design. Design is a blog topic entirely on its own. The most critical decisions to make when considering outdoor design are function and how it flows with the structure of the house. It’s easy to fall in love with something beautiful yet highly impractical for your lifestyle and home investment. A free form pool with amazing rock waterfalls can become a maintenance nightmare down the road. A diving board can raise home insurance rates. Outdated decking materials, such as flagstone, can turn into a tripping hazard and chip away until they are an eyesore. There are lots of detailed questions to ask yourselves and your pool builder when working through the design phase. It’s a natural part of the process to spend several weeks tweaking the design to fit your family’s use and budget. Remember, there’s no substitution for high quality products. Concrete pools with a premium surface are long lasting, quality pool equipment has great warranties, natural stone decking is durable, and your landscaping should accent your home beautifully not work you to tears.

Permits. Permits are two fold in some neighborhoods. If your home has an HOA, this will be your first step in obtaining permission to alter your home’s exterior. Your pool builder will help you fill out the required paperwork and provide you with a materials list and 2D drawing of the plan. It can take up to thirty days for the HOA to approve plans, pending there are no changes to the outdoor design within that time. The next step is to obtain a building permit. This process can be completed by either the homeowner or the pool builder either electronically or in person depending on your county building codes website. If you, the homeowner, opt to obtain the permit yourself remember to submit all documentation at once to avoid additional delays. Depending on the number of requests submitted, this part of the process can between two weeks and up to six months. Here in Nashville we like to recommend that swimming pool projects start in the Fall and Winter, so that our clients can be swimming by Spring.

Product/Material Availability and Delivery. The best planned projects can experience delays based on supply and demand. Your pool builder will assist you with choosing products based on the stages of pool construction. The best tip for side stepping any delays is to have an idea of what you’d like to experience in your environment. Houzz and Pinterest are great sources for looking at swimming pools and outdoor retreats. These sites allow you to create dream boards and share them with your pool builder. Keep in mind that sometimes there are slight variations in color and texture from catalogs and websites in real life. Tennessee Custom Pools has a materials van and provides first class customer service by bringing material samples to our clients homes. Our clients get to see and feel their choices before they become a part of their pool. This is the most fun part of designing a backyard environment.

Rock. Once excavation for the swimming pool is underway there is a 50/50 chance that you will encounter rock in Nashville. Tennessee Custom Pools owns all of its own equipment and is fully equipped to chisel a swimming pool out of rock. Rock can cause potential delays for many builders though if they have to rent their equipment or find subcontractors that are able to manage removing rock. If you have concerns about project delays due to rock, it can help to consult with neighbors that already have pools. Keep in mind, it’s almost always a gamble in Middle TN.

Inspector Schedules. There are projects that flow perfectly throughout the construction phase without a hiccup until it comes time for inspections. Nashville is growing and so are inspector work loads. In major metropolitan areas an inspection may take up to thirty days to complete. If this happens, please be patient. Everyone is on your team and wants to see you swimming quickly and safely!

Weather. Global warming is real and the weather is unpredictable. Mark Twain brilliantly stated, “If you don’t like the weather, just wait a few minutes.” Nashville is blessed with seasons including high heat, rain, and snow. Building happens year round here, but the weather is plays a critical role in project management and completion. Some stages of swimming pool construction can be completed regardless of environmental conditions with proper planning and equipment. Other times delays can occur if dry weather is necessary or subcontractors are backed up in their work loads. The best time to start your swimming pool is now if you want to enjoy the next swim season to the fullest.

Landscaping. Your exterior space is a place that you will enjoy 365 days a year both functionally and visually. Plants tie in the ambience of the home providing shade and privacy. Your outdoor living retreat is not complete without landscaping. A knowledgeable pool contractor will be able to recommend year round blooms that are safe for your pets and swimming pool. The design phase is a great place to consult with your pool builder about which trees are unsafe and potentially hazardous to your home and the enjoyment of your pool. A flowering crape myrtle can become a nightmare if it stains your pool surface or deck. The combination of water and lovely flowers can attract wasps. Tennessee Custom Pools ties all of its projects together creating a seamless transition from the home to the patio and surrounding landscape.

A swimming pool is a wonderful addition to a home if it is built properly with quality materials. It will add value to your daily life inviting your family and friends to spend more time together. If you are ready to be the hub for bbqs and special events, start the planning process now. Life is too short to miss another season of sunshine and fun playing at home!


Tennessee Custom Pools specializes in the design, build, and remodel of gunite swimming pools, outdoor living spaces, and landscaping. TN License #74434 If you have questions about our NSPF Certified Pool and Spa Inspections feel free to reach out at 615.987.0077 Our goal is for you to feel confident and happy with your home purchase.